Keith Warn’s is not the typical indie filmmaker story. With a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA and M.S. Business Administration from Cal Poly, Pomona and a former job at the aerospace division of Boeing, you wouldn’t expect Keith to film an ode to 70’s camp and comedy skin flicks. But he did, and the result is “Sorority Girls’ Revenge.” Keith sits down with Mark Bell to discuss his film and even weighs in on the film vs. digital debate:
What is “Sorority Girls’ Revenge” about, in one sentence?
It’s an “innocent” voyeur comedy about peeping toms vs. ticked off sorority girls.
Comedies about peeping toms getting their comeuppance by the very targets of their peeping is not very common. What was the budget and how’d you convince folks to put up the money?
$385K, It took 8 weeks to film, and about a year to get edited and into theaters. The producer originally thinking of making my movie, although only about 35, had a massive stroke. His surviving partners said they would produce the movie if I would find the funding. I said to myself, “If I’m going to find the funding, then I’m going to produce and direct it myself.” Once I got the money in place, I started the process of casting and filming shortly thereafter.
How did casting go? I mean, the majority of the film is populated with ladies in their undies…
I tried a local casting company which said they could not provide model types willing to be filmed in their underwear. They gave me the name of a local photographer who set up a casting call at a fancy restaurant in the area. A bunch of people auditioned, and I picked the cast.
Still, how do you convince a bunch of actresses to be filmed solely in their underwear for the majority of a film? I guess it beats porn but still, what drew them to the film?
Money and the opportunity to appear in a movie. Actress Stacy Oliver has appeared in movies and on TV.
How about the look of the film. It has a real 70’s, camp style to it. How’d you achieve that? What’d you shoot on?
The movie was shot in Super 16mm and then upconverted to 35mm. The main reason was budgetary, but at the time of filming, the state of the art of digital was not good enough to replace film. My next film will probably be in HD.
Why would you go HD after having shot film, which everyone claims is the best way to go?
During film processing, negative cutting, and optical effects, lots of dirt specs ended up on the film. It cost me $4,000 to try to get them removed, and then I had to pay the negative cutters money to cut out individual frames still having dust and lint problems. Cutting out frames, in turn, caused a few problems with the sound editor because of lip synching problems. Digital would not have had these problems, or at least not this bad. Plus we had to use optical effects masking to cure the walkway scene at a cost of about $5,000. Had digital effects been used, the masking would have been easier, better, and cheaper.
Did the film have a festival run?
No, but Bill McCuddy, Entertainment Reporter for Fox News, said “makes you wish we still had drive-ins.” He gave me permission to quote him on this, but for one other positive quote he made, he had second thoughts and asked me not to publish that quote. I, of course, have respected that request.
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
My background is high tech. I worked in aerospace where I worked on electronic warfare, radar, infrared, communications, and similar things. My last job was Manager of Software Engineering and Expert Systems at Rockwell International (now Boeing).
So you’re actually a rocket scientist. Why filmmaking?
I wanted a diversion from highly structured, high tech, unemotional aerospace work.
What sort of projects do you have coming up?
If I recoup some of the money I spent on “Sorority Girls’ Revenge,” I plan to make two low budget movies titled “The Dysprosium Factor” and “Saving Numero Uno”.
I also have written the first two screenplays for my Ibex CIA code word franchise which is not a knock off of James Bond or “Charlie’s Angels.” It is totally different, more realistic, and better. I have also written big budget screenplays titled “Martyr Maker,” “Spycam,” and “Three Oui” plus a TV sitcom pilot script titled “Cathy and Friends.”
“Sorority Girls’ Revenge” is available for sale now at the Film Threat Shop.